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14 Simple Things You Can Do To Upgrade Your Office

14 Simple Things You Can Do To Upgrade Your Office

Staying motivated and keeping your productivity high are sometimes difficult, especially if you are sitting at a desk in your home office with no one to breathe down your neck and yell about deadlines. You’ll often find that people who tend to be unmotivated and slack off more don’t have things around their office set up in a way that allows them to stay focused on their work for extended periods of time. Here are some simple things you can do to upgrade your office and create your perfect work environment.

1. Hang your hardware on the wall using hooks

An excellent way of saving some space on your desk and just generally making things more manageable is to get some wall hooks and hang things on them. You can get a number of very cheap metal hooks or plastic attachments that can be used to hold anything from cables and small gadgets to larger office supplies.

2. Add some extra storage space

Another great way of preventing your desk from getting all cluttered up is to simply add some additional storage space. A small drawer with about three compartments is usually more than enough, but you can also make your own shelves. A chest or similar piece of old furniture can also be used to add storage space, but something as simple as boxes, baskets or travel bags can do the trick in a pinch.

3. Elevate your speakers to ear level

Instead of buying new speakers or constantly turning up the volume, you can simply raise your speakers on a platform so they are at ear level. This way you get a much clearer sound without making too much noise.

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4. Add more light

Shed more light

    You will strain your eyes if there isn’t enough light and this can lead to a deterioration of your eyesight over time. Low light conditions can also make you feel drowsy and even slightly depressed. By adding a good lamp you will ensure that there is enough light in your immediate surroundings for you to see clearly. If at all possible you should try and let some natural light into your office by setting up your work desk near a window.

    5. Give it some color

    Bland, boring and grey is not really a design that promotes creativity and productivity. If you want to stay motivated, you need to feel comfortable and relaxed, which can be achieved by adding some bright colors and spicing things up. A fresh coat of paint on the walls, some paintings or prints, colorful office supplies on your desk, a new rug, painting an interesting pattern on your desk and drawer – all these things can help you create a fun work area where you can spend hours at a time without feeling claustrophobic or depressed.

    6. Get a small potted plant

    A nice, green plant will help you upgrade your office in several ways. It provides you with extra oxygen, livens up your interior and keeps you connected to nature so you don’t feel like you are in a prison. You need a plant that doesn’t require a lot of sunlight and is simple to maintain. Some good choices include English Ivy, Philodendrons and Peace Lilies.

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    7. Find a comfortable, ergonomic chair

    Sitting in the right position not only ensures that you stay healthy, but it also enables you to sit in the same position much longer without fidgeting around or taking frequent breaks to stretch your body. A good office chair follows the natural curvature of the spine, provides lumbar support, and is highly adjustable so as to allow you to customize the chair to your size and needs. Make sure your knees and elbows are bent at 90 degree angles, that the armrests provide adequate support for your forearms, and that the chair is comfortable yet stiff enough to keep your body aligned properly.

    8. Improve your desk

    You will need to set up the things on your desk so that they are within reach. Your desk also needs to have enough space to fit everything and some additional storage where you can put away things that you don’t use that often. Generally speaking, you should be able to reach your peripherals – i.e. mouse, printer, speakers – and important tools, like a calculator or notepad and pen, without moving your body. The things that you use less frequently should be placed further away and you should only have to move your chair or get up when you need to access things that are used on rare occasions. An elevated platform for the monitor and a sliding base for the mouse and keyboard are also beneficial.

    9. Put your monitor at eye level

    The reason most people hunch over so much when sitting at the computer (well, apart from the fact that they often have really bad chairs and low desks) is the fact that the monitor is on a lower level. Your monitor should be at eye level so that you can keep your neck and back straight when looking at the screen. If using a laptop, it’s best to get a USB keyboard and raise the laptop. There are plenty of good bases that allow you to do this, but a stack of books will do just fine.

    10. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy

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    Great home office design

      Some two or three hours into your day at the office you will start to feel mental fatigue and decide to take a short break. Just 5–10 minutes can be enough to let your brain relax, but you need to keep your mind off work and focus it on something fun and pleasurable. Pictures of your loved ones, a model ship, your favorite fishing rod, your first guitar, or a small figurine with a lot of emotional value are just some examples of things that can help put your mind at ease.

      11. Always have a few items lying around that can help your body relax

      Your body tends to get tense and uncomfortable from sitting too long. That’s why it’s important to have a few useful items at your side, such as a grip straightener, a resistance band, a foam roller or a head massager. Take a break every so often, do some light exercise to strengthen the tendons and get some blood flowing through the muscles, and then stretch to loosen up your body.

      12. Create a portable stand for your webcam or microphone

      There are plenty of cheap webcams that include a portable stand and you can get small, flexible stands for webcams for a very low price as well. They allow you to position your webcam any way you want, so that you don’t have to hunch over or mess with the lighting to get a good picture.

      13. Organize your cables

      There’s nothing worse than having a bunch of tangled up cables lying on the floor, particularly when you have to unplug something. Organizing cables isn’t that difficult. You’ll need to unplug everything and untangle those messy cables first, then use hooks and different attachments to make sure the cables run straight from the machines to the sockets. Putting a few small stickers with the right labels (e.g. computer, monitor, printer, etc.) on the cables can help you quickly identify which cable goes where.

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      14. Get a whiteboard

      A whiteboard is essential for visualizing your thoughts and putting down those split-second epiphanies before you have a chance to forget them. It also serves as a great reminder – it’s difficult to forget about something when you have a huge list of tasks staring you in the face every time you sit down at your desk. A whiteboard helps you become more organized and you can always draw some random things on it if you start feeling bored.

      In order to do your best you need a workplace that is tidy, decorated to your liking and has a relaxed, yet professional atmosphere. It all comes down to motivation, so make sure you upgrade your office in a way that keeps you feeling happy and motivated.

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      Ivan Dimitrijevic

      Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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      Last Updated on November 27, 2020

      15 Office Design Tricks That Will Increase Your Productivity at Work

      15 Office Design Tricks That Will Increase Your Productivity at Work

      Where you work has an enormous impact on how you work – on your ability to focus (and stay focused) and your overall ability to be productive. That means the design of your office, whether you work at home or in a larger company environment, is of supreme importance. This isn’t just about Feng Shui, this is about producing results and getting things done.

      According to studies done on workplace and productivity, the most significant factor in determining an employee’s ability to focus is their physical environment. In fact, it’s been said that a well-designed office can increase your productivity about 20%. However, despite the studies and statistics, nearly half of the employers interviewed don’t consider workplace design a good business investment.

      So what is a productivity hack to do? What if you work in an environment that doesn’t promote focus?

      Check these 15 factors and make changes where you can. A little adjustment can produce a lot of impact.

      Lighting

      Lighting is one of the most important factors in staying focused and feeling inspired to create, yet it’s one of the most overlooked and least invested in. Bad lighting can cause fatigue, eyestrain, headaches and overall irritability. Dark spaces can actually produce depression.

      If you work in a company office:
      You probably have no control over your general lighting so bring in your own, if need be. Consider using natural light bulbs or a light therapy device.

      If you work from a home office:
      Open the windows and doors and let natural light in. Using lamps in a variety of areas for cloudy days or when it’s dark.

      Chair and Table

      If you’ve ever sat at a desk to do work but found yourself adjusting, stretching and moving too often to actually stay focused, then you’re aware of the importance of having a correctly fitted table and chair. In today’s work environment where so many of us are sitting for most of our day, it is critical that your throne fits your body probably.

      Consider these quick ergonomic checks:

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      • Eyes 24-36 inches from the computer screen. The top of the monitor should be below or at eye-level.
      • Feet should be on a foot rest or resting on the floor.
      • A slightly reclined chair posture is best to reduce pressure on your spine and minimize lower back pain.

      If you work in a company office:
      Ask for an adjustable chair. Add pillows for your lower back or bum, if you need it. Many companies will also provide risers for computers to adjust the height of your computer screen (and a separate keyboard to keep your hands and wrists in the ideal position)

      If you work from a home office:
      Invest in a decent chair or at least use a few pillows to make the chair more comfortable. If the table is too high, add pillows to your chair. If it is too low, consider buying leg risers from your local hardware store and using books beneath your computer to raise the screen. Use a separate keyboard.

      Clutter

      Your mama was right, it’s important to clean up your room. Clutter may help the creative mind create, but it isn’t necessarily helpful for focus and productivity.

      If you work from a company office: While you can’t control the cleanliness of the office at large, do keep your own environment around you clean. Spend 10 minutes every morning or evening making sure things are put away, filed, organized and generally out of sight so you’re not distracted by it later.

      If you work from a home office: Because you work from home, the entire house or apartment is potential for distraction. If you can afford it, hire a professional cleaning service to keep your home clean. If not, schedule a specific day and time to clean your home. Commit to doing daily pickup at a specific time. And spend at least 10 minutes every day making sure your office  is organized and tidy.

      Room Color

      The colors around us all have an effect on our moods and brain function. It evokes both a physical and emotional response. So choosing the right colors for your work space has the ability to affect your productivity. For instance, blue has been said to illicit productivity. Mind you, too much of anything can be overwhelming, even color.

      If you work from a company office: Bring in items from home that are a certain color that inspire you and keep you focused. Use postcards, magazine cutouts, even just blocks of color will do.

      If you work from a home office: If you work from home, you have much more control over the colors around you. Consider repainting a wall, adding color to the table you work at, or hanging pictures that are dominated by a specific color.

      Room Temperature

      Most offices keep their temperatures around 65-68 Fahrenheit but it turns out that this might not be good for productivity. Warmer rooms actually make people more productive.

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      If you work from a company office: Most offices are regulated by somebody else, so bring a space heater, sweaters and blankets to your work space.

      If you work from a home office: Depending on the season, open the windows or adjust the heat or a/c so that you’re more comfortable and warm. Pile on the sweaters in the winter or add a space heater to your feet.

      Room Scents

      Like the color of the space you work in, our sense of smell can powerfully affect our mood, mindset and thus our productivity. Consider adding scents to your work space to jar your mind into focus when you start to notice yourself drifting off.

      Try using these scents to stay focused:

      • Pine – Increases alertness
      • Cinnamon – Improves focus
      • Lavender – Helps to relax you during a stressful work day
      • Peppermint – Lifts your mood
      • Citrus (any) – Wakes you up  and lifts your spirits

      If you work from a company office: Most people will not appreciate added scents to their work environment so you’ll need to keep it subtle. Keep essential oils in your bag or drawer and when you’re in need of a boost put a few drops on a handkerchief or cotton ball.

      If you work from a home office: Use candles, incense or essential oils. You can also simmer herbs and spices in the kitchen to fill your home with a warm scent.

      Noise Level

      The noise level in a work environment can vary greatly depending on the size of the team you work with, the office design and company culture. But make no mistake, the noise around you affects your ability to stay on task. Not only can it be distracting, it can also raise stress levels making your ability to sustain productivity far more difficult.

      If you work from a company office: Bring in noise cancellation headphones and use music services like Spotify or Songza and choose concentration boosting sounds, like white noise.  Find out if your office offers quiet work spaces for times when you need the utmost focus.

      If you work from a home office: Sometimes the complete quiet can be as distracting as an office. Use a service like Coffivity to mimic the noise of a coffee shop, which has been said to help with concentration.

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      Air Quality

      Air quality can drastically affect our ability to focus and think clearly. Get this: OSHA estimates that the total annual cost of poor air quality in office environments costs employers $15 billion “due to worker inefficiency and sick leave.” Yeah, it’s serious business.

      If you work from a company office: Talk to them about installing air filters. If there is a way to bring in fresh air through windows or doors, arrange to have them opened for at least a portion of the day. If nothing else, get a personal air filter to have on your desk or nearby.

      Also, get a plant (or better yet, have the company buy and use more plants in the office!). Plants are great at filtering the air and providing clean, purified oxygen.

      If you work from a home office: Open windows and doors and let in the fresh air. Install an air filter or get a portable air filter to keep near your desk. And, yes, you too should get a plant.

      Different Spaces

      If you can manage it, give yourself more than one space to work from. Putting yourself in a new space with different qualities and things to look at quite literally shifts your brain and helps you stay focused.

      If you work from a company office: Many offices offer a variety of environments to work from: your personal space, lobbies, break out rooms, conference rooms, kitchens and eating areas and, if you’re lucky, they also provide lounge areas. Use all these spaces to vary your routine. Make sure your supervisor knows so they don’t think you’re slacking off and know tat you’re actually getting more done!

      If you work from a home office: If you work at a desk, add a comfortable couch or chair to the room. If your space is less flexible or ultra tiny, think about more creative ways to change your work space. Rotate the pictures on your walls every couple of days. Sit on the other side of your desk. Get a lamp and multiple colored bulbs. Or go work at a café, the library or in a park.

      Organization of People

      Most employers organize employees around job function or in specific divisions. Instead, studies show that people are more creative and productive when they are sitting with colleagues that share the same goal or client. Not only are you able to get answers and generate solutions quicker, but because you’re directly accountable to the people around you, you’re more likely to stay on task and productive.

      If you work from a company office: Ask your employer if you can experiment by clustering your group together in a conference room for a day or a week. Get feedback from everybody involved. Show the results. If your company won’t make permanent adjustments, perhaps they’ll allow you to work together a couple times a week when the conference room or lounge area is free.

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      If you work from a home office: This is a little bit more difficult because when you work at home you’re not with colleagues. You can recreate a similar space digitally, however. Create a Skype group and have everyone logged in during working hours. You can do morning accountability and check-ins while remaining available for questions, solution-finding and general banter that promotes creativity.

      Idea Storage

      Ever been working hard when you’re suddenly distracted by a great idea? At first you try to push it away, but then the next thing you know you’re 20 pages deep into an online search on the topic. Ideas should be encouraged and cultivated, but when they come right in the middle of another task it can be incredibly distracting. Instead, create a place to store your ideas that’s easily accessed from your work space.

      For both a company and home office: Keep pads of paper around, have a chalk wall, get a white board – when you have a spark of inspiration write it down right away to get it out of your head then return to the task at hand. Then, at the end of the day or when you have free time, collect all the ideas and review them. With a little time and space you can better decide if it’s worth pursuing or better to leave it on the back-burner.

      Refreshment

      Our brain needs nourishment to keep going, especially when we’re driving hard and staying focused. You can let a rumbling stomach go on for only so long before the brain shuts down. Assuming your different is like wanting your car to keep driving without having to stop and fill it with gas. A novel idea, but not realistic.

      If you work from a company office: Pre-make snacks for the day and/or week. Or, bring in prepackaged snacks. Keep in mind that junk food has properties of diminishing returns so if you’re buying your food prepackaged think nuts, fruit, unsweetened yogurts, and hummus and crackers. Likely, your company provides coffee, tea and water so you don’t have to worry about supplying that for yourself.

      If you work from a home office: If you work from home, this can be a key distraction. Try to reduce the number of times you walk into the kitchen each day. To do this, keep quick and   easy snacks pre-made or prepackaged ready and near your desk. Keep a water bottle nearby. And consider bringing a kettle into your office and stocking tea and coffee so you’re   not tempted to wander around the house and lose time poking through the pantry.

      Bring in Nature

      We are biological creatures, first and foremost. So we are deeply affected by our access to (or lack of) the natural world. It’s important for our psychological and physiological functioning, which directly affects our ability to be productive.

      If you work from a company office: If you don’t have windows in or near your work space, bring in pictures of the outdoor world. Keep a picture of something natural as your screensaver and/or desktop wallpaper. Take walks outdoors at lunch or in between major tasks. Just a few minutes outside in the fresh air and sunshine can boost our mood and shake out the doldrums. Be sure to add a plant to your desk, too!

      If you work from a home office: Keep the shades open and, if you can, let in fresh air. If you can’t see anything natural out of your window, keep pictures of the natural world as your screensaver and/or desktop wallpaper. Take walks. Or, just step outside and put your feet on the ground. Put plants in your office – research shows that having live plants in your office makes you more productive, happier and less stressed.

      Digital Space

      For most people, our primary work is housed within our laptops and our physical environment simply the backdrop to our digital lives. Make sure your computer has software that helps you sculpt the digital environment that best elicits productivity. Use focus apps like this one or this to decrease distractions. Or design your day using intervals with an app like this one to keep you at your peak focus throughout the day.

      Featured photo credit: Phil Desforges via unsplash.com

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